All square in Cardiff

Sri Lanka 400 (P Jayawardene 112, Anderson 3-66) lead England 47-1 by 353 runs

The following is a report from tea on day two at Cardiff.

It’s been a strange day in Cardiff. England haven’t bowled badly, Sri Lanka haven’t batted great. There’s been posturing, poking and pontificating, and at tea we are no nearer to finding out who’s going to win this game.

The suspicion is that Sri Lanka’s batsmen have done pretty well, but may yet be let down by their bowling attack. They have certainly been bold – winning the toss and batting with five batsmen and two allrounders was gutsy, and they’ll be satisfied to have reached 300 with the potential for more.

England have alternated between menacing and anaemic – Trott opening after lunch was slightly surreal, and his bowling was sufficiently rum to raise eyebrows. Expect Paul Collingwood to look rose-tinted next time you see him. Collingwood has also been missed in the slips – Alastair Cook is a strange choice for 3rd slip given he lumbers in the lunge, while James Anderson will do well to get anywhere near Collingwood’s 18 catches off Graeme Swann.

The four man attack has had one of those days that makes them look a bowler light, especially given Anderson’s back-tweak. Anderson had bowled well for his couple of wickets, but Stuart Broad was again suffering from an identity crisis. Broad was better than yesterday, but is clearly still struggling to work out if he is a genuine quick, or a line and length bowler. Here he was most effective on the occasions he throttled back, shortened his run and asked short-leg to remove his helmet.

Broad’s mood won’t have been helped by tonsillitis, a couple of unsuccessfully referred LBW decisions and a few nicks that have flown through gaps. That 100th Test wicket remains elusive.
For their part Sri Lanka have shown none of the early tour fragility of the past – four of the top six over 50 is an impressive effort, and when the failures go by the name Kumar Sangakarra and Mahela Jayawardene there is scope for further success. If they are to be safe here, Prasanna Jayawardene must go on to a third Test hundred. He received good support from Farveez Maharoof before he fell victim to #trottsfault, while if Tishana Perera bowls like he bats Sri Lankan fans are in for a spicy few years.

Forty-six overs remain in this game – plenty of time for the narrative to develop, but England will know that if they’re not batting long before stumps this game is slipping away.

What happened next?

Jayawardene got his ton. So did Broady, slightly fortuitously.

Sri Lanka got 400, and England lost Strauss before the close. We’ll know much more by close of play tomorrow.


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